Armored Discipleship: Working from Scarcity Daring Discipleship: Practicing Gratitude
Paul is in prison. Prisons in Paul’s day did not provide adequate food, shelter, or care. Any food that was provided came from visitors. Any care he received also came from visitors. I imagine the fear of the unknown, hunger, and loneliness could cause any of us to spiral into grief, sadness, or even depression.
And, yet, Paul is rejoicing with gratitude.
Where we think about scarcity, Paul is reflecting on abundance.
In places where we feel worried about a disciple that is destitute, Paul feels gratitude.
Where we might want to try to fix the situation, Paul responds with thanksgiving.
I’m certain being in prison was not a moment of great joy for Paul. Still, Paul found a way to stay focused on Jesus, the one who is with him in all circumstances. From a posture of vulnerability, Paul communicated with gratitude.
But sometimes, joy and gratitude overwhelm you. After all, both expressions are aspects of vulnerability. When you’re overwhelmed, sometimes you head in a different direction, concocting stories of tragedy, hurt, and/or scarcity.
It can be subtle armor: you’re afraid to celebrate a victory. Why? Because if you do, you’re inviting something to go wrong in the next breath. It’s actually another way to focus on scarcity. I don’t think one minute Paul was grateful and in the next breath, he was devising stories for how his life would end. But, that’s what scarcity does.
So here’s the invitation today: put down the armor. Stop thinking, feeling, and behaving as if resources, joy, and success are scarce. They are not. Gratitude multiplies joy, it does not diminish it. Put down the armor of scarcity and pick up the practice of gratitude. Look to Paul’s example in our scripture today if you need additional guidance.
Said simply, if you want to be a daring disciple, don’t step into a dress rehearsal of tragedy or despair in moments of great joy.
Where do you put on the armor of scarcity in order to protect yourself from being vulnerable, caught off guard, or being sucker-punched?
Live today from a posture and practice of gratitude. Challenge yourself to come up with at least 10 people, circumstances or experiences that you’re grateful for by the end of the day.
Thank you, Jesus, for walking with me and being my constant companion. Thank you for wrapping your arms around me in deep embrace while challenging me to become more of who you created me to be. For today, for the people I will encounter, for everything I will experience, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Amen.
What ten things are you grateful for today? Want to stay present to the joy in your life? Challenge yourself to begin a practice of daily gratitude. It’s the one thing that people who experience joy have in common.
If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of It Takes Courage” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.